Prescriptions can be perplexing for some, but knowing about your medication, how to get it and what you’re entitled to is important for your health. Whether you receive prescriptions regularly or every now and then from your doctor, it’s important to read up on the latest policies and information about them as they can change more frequently than you realise.
Can my pharmacist help me with common medical queries?
Yes. Your pharmacist has a lot of knowledge about common conditions and can recommend the appropriate medicines to save you a doctor’s appointment and treat your illness more quickly. Common ailments like colds, flu, minor injuries and allergies can all be taken care of by your pharmacist, so unless you suspect something serious, you should pay them a visit first.
Am I entitled to free prescriptions?
Maybe. This depends on your age and circumstances. In England, prescriptions are available for free to those who:
- are under 16
- are 16-18 and in full-time education
- are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
- have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
- have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx
- hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
- are an NHS inpatient
(Information via NHS England)
Those who try to seek free prescriptions without being eligible can face fines of up to £100, so it’s important that you get your MedEx certificates renewed if they expire and you still feel that you are entitled to free prescriptions.
What is the cost of a prescription?
Prescriptions have different costs, but if you opt for a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), you can save yourself some money. These can be bought in three-month (for those needing more than three prescriptions) or 12-month plans (for those needing more than 12 prescriptions). This can help you save money over time. Otherwise, the cost of a prescription is £8.60 per item.
How often should your prescriptions be assessed?
It’s recommended that you have your prescriptions assessed at least once a year (and more often if you’re experiencing side-effects or you have a serious condition). Having regular assessments means you can avoid having to take medication which is no longer necessary or identify things that aren’t working for you. With new medicines available all the time, there may be new ones available that mean you don’t have to take as many.
Where can I get a prescription out of hours?
If you need to collect a prescription out of hours, you’ll be able to do so through our out of hours surgery. There are also 24-hour pharmacies available which will be able to help give you what you need. If you lose your prescription or you need a new one outside of regular GP hours, you can visit our out of hours surgery between 6.30pm and 8am on weeknights and 6.30pm Friday until 8.00am Monday on weekends. In advance of any bank holidays or other busy periods, it’s advised that you get your prescriptions in order and book appointments to have them assessed well in advance.
Knowing key information about your prescriptions is really important as it helps you to stay on top of your own care and can be vital during busy periods when you might find it more difficult to get a doctor’s appointment. For more information about our out of hours surgery, as well as where to find us if you need us, visit our website and you’ll find all the information you need.